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Using A List-server To Distribute Your Newsletters


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									                                                  Presented by Daniel Toriola

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                                        Use a List-server to Distribute Your Newsletter
                                                              By Stephen Bucaro

   Use a List-server to Distribute Your Newsletter by By Stephen Bucaro

Reprintable Article: Permission is granted for the
following article to forward, reprint, distribute, use for
ezine, newsletter, website, offer as free bonus or part of
a product for sale as long as no changes are made and the
byline, copyright, and resource box is included.
Use a List-server to Distribute Your Newsletter

By Stephen Bucaro

If you publish an e-newsletter or e-zine, you know that
administering your subscriber list is a big chore. To
maintain the list, you may be using an email program on
your computer or a CGI program on your server. One
advantage to maintaining the list yourself is that you
know it is not being shared by anyone else.

However, there are four good reasons why you should host
your list on a list-server.

1. People can subscribe or unsubscribe from your list
automatically with absolutely no work by you.

2. People often subscribe with an email alias or forwarded
email account. You send your newsletter to one address,
then receive a delivery failure or unsubscribe from an
address not on your list. You can’t delete it from your

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                                                                                                                                 Page 1
                                         Presented by Daniel Toriola

3. People subscribe to the list and then forget that they
subscribed. They accuse you of spamming. This can’t be
avoided entirely, but if your list is hosted on a
list-server, you can respond by saying “all subscribes
and unsubscribes are handled automatically by the list
server, you have no control of it.”

4. If you plan to sell advertising in your newsletter,
most advertisers and advertisement networks will require
you to verify your subscriber count. If you maintain the
list yourself, the only way you can do that is to share
your list with them. You don’t want to do that.

If your list is hosted on a list-server, the number of
subscribers is there for all to see, provided by an
independent third party.

Choosing a List-server

Many list-servers disappeared in the ".com" bust. The best
one, listbot, was bought by Microsoft. It is now called
bCentral and costs $30.00 per month. Being a list owner,
it is your responsibility to keep your list private. With
the well publicized ethical problems at Microsoft, I would
not put my subscriber list in their hands.

Most of the lists ended up on Yahoo. They are in the
domain I find yahoo groups very
complicated to configure. I also worry about Yahoo’s
privacy policy. Yahoo Group Help states, “If you use
Groups, it is very likely that other users will be able to
see your email address.” has the easiest to setup
list-server. However, it is primarily a group mailing list
application that must be configured correctly to perform
the newsletter list function. Topica’s privacy policy
states, “The email addresses of participants are partially
obscured so they are not obtainable by unauthorized

Configuring the List-server

To make a list server function as a newsletter list
requires that you modify its default configuration. The
following configurations should be set.

1. List Type: Read-only Announcement list. Only the owner
of the list can post messages to the list.

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                                              Presented by Daniel Toriola

2. Subscription: Does not require owner approval for
people to join the list.

3. Archive: Readable by subscribers only. If
non-subscribers can read the newsletter, why should
anyone subscribe?

Using the List Server

Now all you have to do is post your newsletter to the list
and it will be delivered to all the subscribers. You will
still be required to deal with delivery failures. If the
reason for the delivery failure is because the email box
no-longer exists, then you should delete that address from
your list immediately.

A delivery failure can also occur because the email box is
too full, or because the mail server is down. You should
establish a policy for dealing with delivery failures.
You have three choices.

1. Ignore them and let the number of messages returned
because of delivery failure grow to enormous size.
Advertisers will not use newsletters if they find out they
are paying for a large number of non-deliverable addresses.

2. Delete them immediately. If you do that, you may be
removing many subscribers who only have the temporary
problems mentioned above.

3. Keep a delivery failure address on your list until it
fails three times. After three consecutive delivery
failures, it is unlikely that the situation will clear up,
so you may as well delete the member.

If you want to publish a quality e-newsletter or e-zine,
you need to spend more time working on content and less
time administering the subscriber list. For this reason,
you should use a list-server application. But make sure
that you are comfortable with the operation of the
list-server before you commit your valuable subscriber
Resource Box:
Copyright(C)2002 Bucaro TecHelp. To learn how to maintain
your computer and use it more effectively to design a Web
site and make money on the Web visit:
To subscribe to Bucaro TecHelp Newsletter Send a blank

How To Set Up A Web Server
Instructions on how to set up your own web server from home.
                                                                            Page 3
                                               Presented by Daniel Toriola

email to

Stephen Bucaro is the webmaster at

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                                                                                                                                 Page 4
                                                  Presented by Daniel Toriola

                                                              Check Your Server!
                                                                  By Dale Sexton

Check Your Server! by Dale Sexton

Do you use your own virtual server to send out your magazine? I do.
Be warned, I have discovered bad things that can happen when you
don't check your server before you send to your list.

Last week, I was getting ready to send out to my subscribers. Earlier
in the day, the owner of the server warned me that it would be down
for upgrades. I worked on the newsletter waiting for the server to
come back up. When it did I started testing my newsletter, sending it
out to myself (or so I thought).

The software I use lets me add or change the list before I send out
my email. As far ad I knew, I added only myself to that list. I
tested several times working on different aspects of the newsletter,
trying to make sure links worked, color was right, images worked, and
plain text looked good.

I even amused myself sending the 'test' mails from R.M.(rim) Ryder
with the address of .

The newsletter was being sent to my email address, so as far as I was
concerned, everything was working perfectly. I put the finishing
touches on the newsletter and sent it to myself again when I got an
email that made me pale.


You have sent me 6 emails in the last 10 minutes! I have Unsubcribed!
Stop sending NOW!"

I couldn't understand what was happening. In the next half hour I
received 50 unsubscribers. I checked the list to see what was going
on. In my mind the only name on the list I was sending to was mine.

When I pulled up my ftp program, last weeks list was on it. I went to
my software to change the list but it wouldn't change. The only thing
that would cause it not to change was if the chmod settings had
changed. They did. I had sent my 'test' to my list as it was last

The upgrade on the server had reset all the settings to everything in
my cgi-bin. After it was all said and done, I lost over 200

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                                                  Presented by Daniel Toriola

subscribers. My host is aware of the problem and have done a number
of good things for my site, so I see no need to move. The real goal
of this article is to make web owners aware of checking their site

Though the program I use is unusual in that the mailing list can
change in the cgi-bin, I had other programs that users brought to my
attention were not working. What this means is that as a website
owner, you have to check your site all the time. Don't trust that it

Dale Sexton owns & operates '', &publishes 'Small Business Tools magazine'.
Bothfocus on tools & tips for small business.mailto:pagecrafters@pagecrafters.netSign up for 'SBT
magazine' at:

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                                                                                                                      Page 6
                                             Presented by Daniel Toriola

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